Average or Superior -- Where is the QUALITY?
Average or Superior…Where is the Quality?
Let me start by stating that no one wants products or services that are of sub-par quality. In fact, generally, if we even think that a product or service that we have received is anything less than superior, we will stop patronizing that establishment. Since I know you agree, how do you, as business owners, measure the quality of your product and/or service?
Measuring the quality of your company’s outputs means that you are adhering to the standards and expectations set by an objective body for that product or service. In other words, you products are conforming to, or not conforming to, the requirements, specifications, or expectations that determine the product’s level of quality. Unfortunately, in numerous cases, many small business owners lack the time, expertise, and finances to measure the quality of their services or products. Quality can be time-consuming and very expensive to measure. In fact, many organizations devote an enormous amount of dollars to Quality Assurance Departments.
So, you may be asking, “What is a small business to do?” Good Question!
Small businesses do have hope. First, you must understand that quality standards have five basic components:
• Realism:: The standards can be followed or achieved
• Reliability: All factors being equal, following the standards should result in the same outcome
• Validity: The standards are based on evidence or other acceptable experience
• Clarity: The standards are understood in the same way by everyone concerned and are not subject to distortion or misinterpretation
• Measurability: Performance according to the standards may be assessed and quantified
Second, you must locate similar businesses, (about 3 or 4), who provide the same products and/or services to a similar target market. Once similar businesses are located, compare you outputs to their outputs. In some cases, it may be a good idea to purchase the products or services in order to personally experience the outputs. For example, if I own a carpet cleaning business, I may invite a competitor over to clean my carpets, (or have them clean a friend's carpet), in order to understand how they answer the phone, their timeliness, the type of job they did, their pricing, if they have any guarantees for their services, etc.
Now, when I begin to measure my service with what I experienced, I can make meaningful, realistic, and pertinent changes to my business operations.
How would you rate the quality of your products or services?
Next week, let’s talk about profitability…Stay Tuned!